Autumnal Equinox: the Days Are Getting Shorter!

A painting of the astrologer Domenicus_van_Wijnen observing the the Equinox.

Festivals + Holidays

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, a.k.a. the Fall Equinox. That means the day time and night time are roughly the same length, and the days are going to continue getting shorter until we reach the Winter Solstice.

Today is  the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the Spring Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. An equinox usually falls on around 20 March or 22 September. It falls on Monday 23 September in 2019.

On an equinox, the length of day time and night time is roughly – but not exactly – the same. The date of an equinox also varies a bit by location.

The Spring Equinox is also known as the Vernal Equinox; the Autumnal Equinox, the Fall Equinox. The Spring Equinox marks the first day of spring; the Autumnal Equinox, the first day of fall.

Needless to say, the actual first days of spring and fall vary depending on geography and climate.

The arc of the sun at every hour during the equinox as seen on the celestial dome. Credit: Tauʻolunga

The days get progressively shorter after the Autumnal Equinox until the Winter Solstice, which marks the first day of winter.

The days get progressively longer after the Spring Equinox until the Summer Solstice, which marks the first day of summer. It is also the longest day of the year.

A solstice usually falls on around 21 June or 22 December. It is also the longest or the shortest day of the year.

Many important religious or cultural feasts, festivals, and holidays are celebrated on or near these 4 dates in various societies around the world.


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